UN slams EU over bru­tal­ity mi­grants face in Libya

The UN has ac­cused the EU of “turn­ing a blind eye” to bru­tal­ity faced by mi­grants in Libya. It fol­lows a re­port from Doc­tors With­out Borders that made sim­i­lar claims

The Daily News Egypt - - Politics -

DW—UN hu­man rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein Zeid said hun­dreds of thou­sands of mi­grants were suf­fer­ing at the hands of au­thor­i­ties in Libyan de­ten­tion cen­ters, adding that the sit­u­a­tion had been “ap­palling” dur­ing dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi’s rule but had turned “di­a­bol­i­cal” since he was ousted in 2011.

“Some mi­grants die of thirst, hunger or eas­ily cured ill­nesses, some are tor­tured or beaten to death while work­ing as slave la­bor, oth­ers are just ca­su­ally mur­dered,” Zeid said, going on to de­tails these and other abuses — in­clud­ing the rape of women “in some cases, ev­ery night” — in Libyan de­ten­tion cen­ters.

Zeid’s of­fice pub­lished a re­port in De­cem­ber 2016 on abuses faced by mi­grants in de­ten­tion cen­ters in Libya, “but mem­o­ries are short when facts are in­con­ve­nient,” he wrote. Since then the sit­u­a­tion had wors­ened, with far too many al­le­ga­tions to ver­ify and re­ports of bod­ies “in the desert, in the for­est, on the beaches.”

Doc­tors With­out Borders (MSF) Pres­i­dent Joanne Liu on Thurs­day pub­lished an open let­ter de­scrib­ing “the hor­rific sit­u­a­tion” for refugees and mi­grants in de­ten­tion cen­ters. Libya’s de­ten­tion of mi­grants “must be named for what it is: a thriv­ing en­ter­prise of kid­nap­ping, tor­ture and ex­tor­tion,” she wrote in a let­ter to Euro­pean gov­ern­ments. Failed ef­forts

The EU has strug­gled to come up with a clear an­swer on how to deal with mi­grants flee­ing war and poverty in the Mid­dle East and Africa, al­though on Au­gust 28, the lead­ers of France, Ger­many, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya agreed a plan to tackle il­le­gal hu­man traf­fick­ing and sup­port na­tions strug­gling to con­tain the flow of peo­ple across the desert and the Mediter­ranean Sea.

Zeid said ef­forts to stem the flow were a “fail­ure” be­cause they do not deal with the “hu­man calamity.”

Italy in the thick of it

Italy and the EU have been fi­nanc­ing, train­ing and pro­vid­ing aid to Libya’s coast guard to stop smug­glers from tak­ing mi­grants and refugees in boats across the Mediter­ranean to Europe. Im­mi­grants are then sent to de­ten­tion cen­ters.

The num­ber of mi­grant ar­rivals in Italy fell in July, sug­gest­ing the above ef­forts may al­ready be hav­ing an im­pact.

The Ital­ian gov­ern­ment said on Fri­day it is ready to give money to non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions to im­prove the liv­ing con­di­tions in Libya’s mi­grant camps.

Some €6 mil­lion ($7.2 mil­lion) have been al­lo­cated for the plan, to be dis­trib­uted “very shortly, within weeks,” Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Mario Giro told the ANSA news agency on Fri­day.

Some have ac­cused Italy of also strik­ing se­cret pacts with mili­tias and former traf­fick­ers.

It fol­lows a re­port from Doc­tors With­out Borders that made sim­i­lar claims

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